"I'm relieved because he's one of the richest people on the planet, which means he knows he'll lose a lot of money in the beginning and he can sustain that," said English, a Democrat.
English said Ellison has been known to vacation on Lanai.
Robin Kaye, president of Friends of Lanai, said he wasn't surprised to hear who the buyer is because Ellison's name has been floating around the island lately.
Before Murdock announced he would keep wind farm rights on the island, Kaye said he hoped Ellison wouldn't pursue the project.
"Lanai is worth more than supplying power to Oahu," Kaye said.
Seventh-generation Lanaian Sol Kahoohalahala said he hopes to see an end to high unemployment and more opportunities for economic development beyond tourism.
"I look at this as a potential opportunity for us to get the new owner to look at Lanai in terms of an island that needs to work at sustaining itself," he said. "Tourism cannot be the only economic engine on Lanai."
Kahoohalaha's family managed to hold on to some Lanai land. The 2 percent Ellison isn't buying is owned by the state, county and private residents.
Associated Press writer Lisa Leff in San Francisco contributed to this report.
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